USA’s Competitive Advantage
The first reason for why lawmakers should work towards reform is that attacks on immigration will affect USA’s competitive advantage. Immigrants make up a large amount of our working population. They also account for $2 trillion of the overall economy of $18 trillion. Cutting legal immigration will result in the decline of the country’s economy in the long run and also decrease the labor supply. In addition to this, attacks on immigration has also discouraged travelers from entering the United States, creating a decline in tourism.
Delaying the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER)
The International Entrepreneur Rule allows for successful entrepreneurs from all around the world to start and grow their businesses in the United States. This rule would’ve resulted in an increase in jobs for Americans. However, under Trump’s administration, the rule has been delayed which will also definitely hurt the progress of the United States as a country. It was supposed to go into effect on July 2017 but the Department of Homeland Security delayed the date to March, 2018. However, after a series of lawsuits, the rule was implemented in January 2018 where it’s policy was to bring new skills and expertise to our country rather than “incentivizing skilled entrepreneurs to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad”.
Eliminating DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
President Trump announced for the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in 2017. The policy granted legal status to undocumented children in the United States which protected them from deportation and also allowed them a work permit. Elimination of the policy will greatly affect the country. DACA has created a great amount of opportunities for about 800,000 youth by finding them jobs, getting health insurance, drivers’ licenses, health services, bank accounts, provide for their families, etc. DACA has also helped the country by growing the “American tax base” through spending and paying federal and state taxes. The economy has also grown and the Dreamers have used their “talent and skills for the American workforce” while also creating a larger middle class. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was also eliminated for those from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan. This will lead to the termination of legal work authorization for about a million immigrants which will not only impact the economy but also a large amount of families. Most of these TPS holders have been members of American society for nearly 19 years. Many of them occupy jobs areas in food services, construction and landscaping. The removal of their statuses will result in a huge drop in the country’s GDP by $164 billion in the next 10 years as well as “$6.9 billion reduction in Social Security and Medicare contributions”.
Eliminating Work Authorizations for H-4 Visa Holders
The H-4 Work Authorization allowed for spouses of H-1B holders to work legally in the USA. The Department of Homeland Security has announced for its termination in the fall of 2017. Most of the H-4 visa holders are women and have earned advanced degrees back in their hometowns. The visas allowed them to secure jobs in the United States as well as take care of their families and pay taxes. However, with the elimination of the work authorization, they will not be able to do any of that. Suspension of H-1B Premium Petitions The majority of H-1B visa holders were highly-skilled immigrants who made up most of our workforce. However, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended premium petitions of the visa which would allow for applicants to speed up the process from 3-6 months to just 15 days with a fee. The Administration also decided to stop extensions for visa holders who are exempt from six-year visa limit while they wait for their green card to process. It will therefore create risks especially if they leave the country. The challenges made against the H-1B visas by the Administration will hurt the economy as it will leave people with no jobs and will also affect families, whom have already been living in the country for nearly 10 years.
Discouraging Foreign Students from Pursuing Degrees from American Universities
According to the report, “1,078,822 international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $36.9 billion and supported more than 450,000 jobs to the US economy” in 2016-2017. They also contribute to the increase in the STEM field, creating more jobs for Americans. As a result of President Trump’s Anti-immigration attitudes and policies, many of the talented foreign students feel discouraged to seek education in the United States. There has been a decline in applicants to engineering programs at schools and the overall number of foreign students declined by 7% in the fall of 2017. This also leads to the decline in ratings of some of the colleges especially because they are forced to cut budgets because of the decline in tuition from foreign students.
Harmful Travel Ban
One of Trump’s first executive orders was to implement a travel ban from 7 Muslimmajority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). The ban blocked refugees from entering the country for 120 days and in addition, made many of the Syrian men, women and children vulnerable to harmful conflicts in the country. The ban prevented skilled businessmen and women, engineers and doctors to enter the country, who most likely could’ve been of great help. The ban has negatively affected medical education and access to health care services. It has disallowed people who were seeking fellowship and residency positions in the USA which will therefore hinder research, student training, as well as prevent doctors from taking care of their patients.
There have been “leaked proposals” that show that Trump and his administration will be putting restrictions on immigrants’ entry and residency in the United States based on their need for government assistance such as welfare, food stamps, etc. The government will be able to deny visas if immigrants have used social services provided by the government, even if they do so legally. They could also be denied due to “age, health, education history, and English proficiency”. The rule also applies to dependents as well as children. The approval of the visa also depends on if immigrants make use of housing and transit subsidies. However, what the administration should take into consideration is that many of these public services that are provided are also being paid by taxes from both immigrants and non immigrants. The RAISE Act (introduced in 2017)– will reduce immigration levels in 10 years, and will cut family-based legal immigration. Securing America’s Future Act (introduced in January 2018) – would slash legal immigration in half and cut “legal non-employment immigration based immigration levels by 43%”. Reference http://www.aila.org/infonet/the-case-for-protecting-legal-immigration